Staggering cherry tomatoes?

calebandkatieMarch 16, 2012

I am a brand new gardener and I want to grow cherry tomatoes all summer long. Will one plant give a sufficient amount the entire summer, or is it possible to have three different varieties bearing one after another? I'm wanting the sweetest ones, so I think after reading lots of posts on here I want to try these - will they bear in succession like I'm wanting, or is that possible? - Sun Cherry - Sun Gold - Sweet 100 - Sweet Million - Black Cherry. And will any of those grow well in my area?

By a sufficient amount, I mean more than you can get in one container at the store each week. My 3 year old goes through them like you wouldn't believe, and they are expensive!=)

Thanks so much for the help in advance!

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mytime(3/4 Alaska)

I can't answer as to whether those will do well in your zone. But I can tell you that once Sun Gold begins ripening, one plant will easily fill a container/week. In fact, if that's all it filled, I'd say something was wrong with your cultivation practices. Others will have to tell you if it will get too hot in your area for proper fertilization/fruit set. I have 6 grandchildren, all who love cherry tomatoes. I get all DH and I want, the kids and grandkids get all they want, and I give lots away to the neighbors. That's from 2 each of Sun Gold, SuperSweet 100, and Sweet Gold.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2012 at 12:47AM
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containerted

Zone 8a gets very warm at mid-summer. Not too many tomatoes that will produce new fruit/blooms in that kind of heat. You can help things by supplying some partial shade at that time. The varieties you listed will do well and that youngster will have plenty eat. Try one other that will give you that good sweet old fashioned taste - Tommy Toe. It will give you lots of great tasting toms that are the size of ping pong balls.

Just be prepared to give them all some protection from the hottest direct sun if you want steady production. Otherwise, you will see a large harvest and then a mid summer slowdown and then another production run as the weather cools toward fall.

Ted

    Bookmark   March 17, 2012 at 9:30AM
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susan2010(6 Massachusetts)

Around here, because our autumns have become so mild, many commercial tomato growers plant another summer crop of cherry tomatoes for a fall harvest, so staggering your planting makes good sense.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2012 at 12:25PM
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Brett-CpG

Curiously, I live in zone 8a, and I grew a single Sungold plant last year (got it from the farmer's market as a seedling), planted it in April, and it began to produce in mid-late May. June and July were incredible...I would be willing to bet I pulled 600-800 tomatoes from the one plant in those two months. It began to struggle in August/September, but still kept on producing even up into early November. With regards to heat, I'm not sure that cherry tomatoes mind the heat like the large slicer varieties. Our plant was up against a brick wall that got direct sunlight most of the day, and temperatures next to the wall would routinely get into the 100-110 degree range, yet the plant just kept on flowering and fruiting. Our other cherry varieties followed a similar pattern, although they stopped producing a few weeks earlier

With that in mind, I don't think you need to stagger your plants. Even in the late summer months, 1-2 plants of the varieties you mentioned will likely provide you with more than you can handle. I suppose if you wanted to, you could stagger them in hopes that you could get delayed peak production (say Sungolds in June, black cherry in July, Sweet millions in August, etc). I haven't tried out this strategy before, but it doesn't mean it won't work.

As a last bit of advice for cherry tomatoes...give them a ton of vertical space. We grew some over a brick wall, and they got 6-7 feet long, and some others going UP a brick wall, which got up to 8 feet, and only stopped because they ran out of poles to climb. That lone sungold plant probably grew 8 feet tall, 8 feet wide, and I actually had to prune the darn thing, as it was invading my peppers!

    Bookmark   March 17, 2012 at 4:14PM
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Bets(z6A S ID)

LOL!

I saw the title of this thread and wondered what you were watering your cherry tomatoes with.

Betsy

    Bookmark   March 17, 2012 at 4:40PM
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calebandkatie

Haha Betsy!

Thanks everyone for your input. You just don't know how much I appreciate it, trying to be a new gardener and all! =) Brett-CpG, I'm amazed you got so much from that plant, especially considering how hot and dry it was for so many months....that's awesome.

As far as shade goes, I read something somewhere about a sheet of fabric being "tented" over the tomato plants for the hottest weather. What type would that be? I'm sure my husband could rig up some kind of shading.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2012 at 9:04PM
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calebandkatie

And what are y'alls opinions on potting tomatoes verses growing them in the ground? I have two five gallon plastic pots,but I also have plenty of yard along the fence that doesn't hold water (like the rest of my yard does...anyone know good edible things to plant in those places?? I'm talking puddles here)

    Bookmark   March 17, 2012 at 9:35PM
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Brett-CpG

Pots are fine, as long as they drain well, but I prefer right in the ground and letting them climb something. As far as something to plant where there are puddles...it might be worth it to make a few piles of dirt rising above the puddles, planting some squash or cucumbers there, and putting down a layer of mulch over the puddles for the vegetables to grow on top of. It will help with moisture control, and cukes especially will soak up a ton of water. Dunno if it would work, but a couple bags of mulch and some seeds don't make for too expensive of a project. Good luck

    Bookmark   March 17, 2012 at 11:25PM
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janezee(Sunset 5, 8b, Whidbey WA)

Well, you sure won't get the same production from a pot that you will in the ground. I save my pots for smaller tomato plants.

Sun Sugar splits less and is sweeter than Sun Gold. Oddly enough, it also has thinner skin for me.

A real treat for your son might be a currant tomato. It might drive you crazy, but I'll bet he'd love it.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2012 at 11:59AM
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janezee(Sunset 5, 8b, Whidbey WA)

You don't say where you are in the country. That might help. :)

But, regardless, it sounds like you need to do some serious soil amendment if your soil drains too fast or not at all. Maybe mixing them together would help. lol Bunny, llama, alpaca and goat manure would probably be the safest to turn in and use immediately. Mushroom compost is my favorite growing medium. There are countless threads to refer to for advice in this area.

Find someone local who knows gardening in your area, and ask lots of questions. The Master Gardener program can refer you. If someone starts talking sprays and chemicals, say thank you very much and find someone else. That's your baby you're protecting there.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2012 at 3:11PM
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